South Dakota Native Plant Research
Primulaceae : Dodecatheon pulchellum

Primulaceae : Dodecatheon pulchellum


Download Seed: the seed os around 1 mm long. (46 KB)

Download Mature plants (753 KB)

Download Flowers and leaves (509 KB)

Family Name


Common Name

Shootingstar, Darkthroat shootingstar


Dodecatheon pulchellum is a perennial herb growing from white, fibrous roots and having erect flowering stems (scapes) that reach up to 50 cm in height. The simple leaves arise from a woody caudex, forming a basal rosette. The oblanceolate to spatulate leaf blades are gradually tapered into a petiole, 4-25 cm long including the petiole, 1-6 cm wide, with entire margins. The inflorescence is a few to many flowered umbel, subtended by a few bracts < 1.5 cm long, with pedicels 1-5 cm long at flowering. The calyx tube is 2-4 mm long with pointed lobes 2-6 mm long. the yellow and red corolla tube has magenta to lavender, reflexed lobes that are 9-20 mm long. the yellow stamens are inserted opposite the corolla lobes, fully protruding and surrounding the style. The fruit is a many-seeded cylindric to ovoid capsule, 7-17 mm long and 4-7 mm wide. Shootingstars bloom in May and June in moist prairie meadows and open woodlands in western South Dakota.

Synonym: Primula pauciflora

Additional Notes

Darkthroat shootingstar is an attractive but ephemeral spring flower, providing food in the early spring for many pollinators, especially bumble bees. They do best with plenty of sun, moist soils in the growing season and drier soils when dormant.

Horticulture Notes

Seed collection: Harvest the seed pods when they become papery and light brown.

Germination: Seeds require a 3-4 week cold period. Plant in the fall or in early spring when the ground is still cold. The seeds need light so plant very shallowly.

Soil: Organically rich well drained soils.

Light: Full sun to light shade.

Water: Moist during the growing season and dryer later in the year.

Primulaceae : Dodecatheon pulchellum